A visitor to Sydney this week would be excused for
believing there is only one code, and one team in the city – the AFL and the
Sydney Swans…that is if they only read The Daily Telegraph.

But for all the promotion the Tele has given the AFL
grand final, you can bet your last dollar that the two rugby league preliminary
finals with be more than competitive in the ratings – and especially the Dragons
v Tigers game tomorrow night.

And what a game it will be – a full house (would have
been almost full at the other venue as well), and in my view, it is not a lay
down certainty for the Dragons.

I have been taken to task by some readers for focusing on the fact the
game is a sell out whereas Sunday’s second preliminary final between
the Eels and the Cowboys at Telstra Stadium won’t be. But that’s
history now, and I think we might see the match of the finals, if not
the season, tomorrow night.

The John Howard-Morris Iemma
supported Dragons (and, lest we forget supported by Mark Latham as well) will
need to be at their very best against the surprise packet of the 2005 season,
the Tigers.

At the start of the season most “experts” predicted the
tigers would not make the top eight this year, let alone the preliminary finals.
How wrong they (we) were! Even though the Dragons have the better “form” we know
that form counts for little in the NRL these days.

The Dragons had last weekend off – and it is debatable
whether that’s an advantage or not. And they are up against a team that has run into form at
the right time – downing the Broncos 34-6 last weekend and the Cowboys 50-6 in
the opening finals round.

The Tigers are enthusiastic and adventurous, with few
real “stars” and they’re up against a star studded Dragons outfit that
includes as many as eight players who are in line for the upcoming tri-nations

Even if you’re “tired and emotional” after watching the
AFL grand final, make the Dragons v Tigers game a must. You won’t be

I think the Dragons will just prevail – a win for the
Howard-Iemma unity ticket!

Read more here.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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